The Erasmus Mundus program is a co-operation and mobility program in the field of higher education. It aims at enhancing quality in European higher education and to promote intercultural understanding through co-operation with third-countries.
The program is intended to strengthen European co-operation and international links in higher education by supporting high-quality European Masters Courses, by enabling students and visiting scholars from around the world to engage in postgraduate study at European universities, as well as by encouraging the outgoing mobility of European students and scholars towards third-countries.
The Erasmus Mundus program comprises four concrete actions:
ACTION 1 - Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses: they constitute the central component around which Erasmus Mundus is built. They are high-quality Masters Courses offered by a consortium of at least three universities in at least three different European countries. The courses must be "integrated" to be selected under Erasmus Mundus, which means that they must foresee a study period in at least two of the three universities and that it must lead to the award of a recognized double, multiple or joint degree.
Note: European students can enroll in an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course that takes partly place in their home countries.
ACTION 2 - Erasmus Mundus Scholarships: in order to give the Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses a strong external projection, a scholarship scheme for third-country graduate students and scholars from the whole world will be linked to them. This scholarship scheme addresses highly qualified individuals.
Note: A scholar is an academic and/or professional of outstanding experience that carries out teaching or research assignments and scholarly work in the institutions participating in the Erasmus Mundus Masters Course or in a third-country partner university with which the Masters consortium has established a Partnership.
Caution: Third-country nationals living in Europe can apply for an Erasmus Mundus scholarship if they are not residents of the 25 EU Member States, the EEA-EFTA states and the candidate countries for accession to the EU, if they have not carried out their main activities (studies, work, etc.) for more than a total of 12 months over the last five years in any of the above mentioned countries, and if they fulfill all the other admission criteria (graduate student or high-quality scholar, accepted by the Erasmus Mundus Masters consortium).
European nationals living in third countries can't apply for an Erasmus Mundus scholarship as third-country nationals.
ACTION 3 - Partnerships: in order to encourage European universities to open themselves up to the world and to reinforce their world-wide presence, Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses will also have the possibility of establishing partnerships with third-country higher education institutions. These partnerships will allow for outgoing mobility for graduate EU students and scholars involved in the Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses.
ACTION 4 - Enhancing attractiveness: Erasmus Mundus will also support measures aimed at enhancing the attractiveness of and the interest in European higher education. It will support activities that will improve the profile, the visibility and the accessibility of European higher education as well as issues crucial to the internationalization of higher education, such as the mutual recognition of qualifications with third-countries.
In concrete terms, Erasmus Mundus will support about 90 Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses.
It will provide grants for some 5,000 graduate students from third-countries to follow these Masters Courses, and for more than 4,000 EU graduate students involved in these courses to study in third-countries.
The program will also offer teaching or research scholarships in Europe for over 1,000 incoming third-country academics and for a similar number of outgoing EU scholars.
Finally Erasmus Mundus will support about 100 partnerships between Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses and higher education institutions in third-countries.
The duration of the program is five years (2004-2008) with a planned financial envelope of 230 million Euros for the whole period.
DEFINITION OF AN "INTEGRATED STUDY PROGRAM"
An integrated study program offered by an Erasmus Mundus Masters consortium has the following features:
Joint criteria for admission and examination: Students must be able to apply to a single program with common standards for admission, a common application procedure and a joint student selection process. The examinations passed at one institution of the consortium are fully and automatically recognized by the other institutions of the consortium.
Course integration: Delivery of a jointly developed curriculum or full recognition by the Erasmus Mundus Masters consortium of courses which are developed and delivered separately, but make up a common standard course.
Mobility: A period of study in at least two of the three institutions participating in the consortium. Potential students must know the sequence of study periods spent in the various hosting institutions and the various mobility combinations when they apply for the Course. In a minimum consortium of three partners (A, B, C), mobility combinations would normally be A+B, A+C, B+C and A+B+C.
Guaranteed award of a recognized joint degree, a double degree or a multiple degree upon graduation: The delivery of a double degree is a minimum requirement. A joint degree is defined as a single degree issued by at least two of the institutions offering an integrated study program. The degrees are recognized in the countries where the degree-awarding institutions are located. A double or multiple degree is defined as two or more national degrees issued officially by two or more institutions involved in an integrated study program.
DURATION OF AN ERASMUS MUNDUS MASTERS COURSE
An Erasmus Mundus Masters Course carries between a minimum of 60 and up to 120 ECTS credits at masters level. 60 to 120 ECTS credits correspond to courses lasting from one up to two academic years.
Source: European Commission (http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/programmes/mundus/index_en.html)